This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day GW community service event has filled to capacity much earlier than expected, organizers said.
More than 200 students, faculty, alumni and 21 student leaders signed up to volunteer on Jan. 19 – the maximum that can fit in the buses chartered to take the volunteers to Anacostia High School. At the high school, volunteers will partake in beautification projects and assist with medical screenings.
“For the past years we’ve had more students sign up than spaces we can fill,” said Megan Mozina, the assistant program coordinator at the Office of Community Service.
Organizers speculate that enthusiasm for the day’s event has grown as President-elect Barack Obama has incorporated community service in his official inaugural activities and encouraged Americans to join him.
Freshman Andrea Ruiz, a member of Circle K International and the Student Planning Committee, said she believes Americans have been influenced by the incoming president.
“Obama is able to reach the entire nation just by speaking,” Ruiz said.
On GW’s Day of Service, student leaders will each lead a group of eight to 10 participants on a different task around the high school.
“The participants will be doing different projects in groups. One group might be doing painting projects or a wall mural, while another might be helping in the library or helping with free blood pressure tests and stroke screenings that will be available to the community,” Mozina said.
Each of the groups will be named for a principle taught by Martin Luther King Jr., said Michael Tapscott, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center.
Tapscott said, “The day will be not just about service, but introspection.”
This article appeared in the January 12, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.